Sales, perhaps more than most professions, has a high turnover rate, and for good reason too. The demands of the job are many, and the pressure to perform is tied to income and employment, sink or swim, and an implicit understanding that a career can have a short shelf life if you don’t step up and deliver results.
It’s no wonder that so many salespeople quit, whether it’s for a fresh start at another company or to permanently leave the business for something more steady (and potentially easier).
But whether or not sales is a perfect fit for you, there’s no doubt that far too many salespeople throw in the towel too early, quitting before giving it a real shot. It’s this mentality that can lead to a lifetime of regret, and critiques of sales that aren’t necessarily grounded in reality.
So if you or someone you know is considering throwing in the towel, try doing the following six things instead of quitting — you might be glad you gave it one more shot.
1. Take some sales training (and take it seriously)
It’s true that a lot of sales training is scammy and ineffective, but there are plenty of hard-working and ethical sales trainers who can help you move the needle, even if it’s in the form of a simple paradigm shift. To be sure, you’ll want to not only pay attention, but actually implement what you’ve learned. But even if there’s only one thing you pick up from your training, it might have enough of an impact to get you back in the game.
2. Think in terms of years, not hours
One of the most difficult things to do in life is to take a step back and look at the big picture. We’re often so caught up in our immediate needs, wants, and discomforts that it’s difficult to see how our efforts accumulate over time. If you start a workout plan, you likely understand that getting to your goals doesn’t happen overnight. The same is true for sales. You might feel like you’re making calls into the void all day, but if you keep it up consistently for a prolonged period of time, you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labor, and achieve what you hoped to on day one.
3. Take a break
It might seem counterintuitive to take a break when you’re not performing, but sometimes you need to slow down in order to speed up. Our bodies and minds need rest, and sometimes a “reset” is all it takes to come back fresh and get things rolling again. Whether it’s a long weekend, a few days off, or a trip somewhere different, whatever it is you need to feel refreshed should be prioritized when you’re nearing burnout. Otherwise, you’re not really giving yourself a fair chance to succeed.
4. Get back to the basics
When you feel like you’re ready to quit, it’s a good idea to try getting back to the basics. Try to remember your first day on the phones. You didn’t know as much as you do now, and you were probably nervous and scared. But you were also hopeful, and that earnest energy shone through in your interactions with prospects. Try to take a step back and keep it simple. In some cases, you might just be overthinking it.
5. Ask for feedback
Many of us put up a wall when it comes to asking for help. Accepting feedback can be difficult, especially when it makes us question our own approach. But if you’re at the end of your rope, you have everything to gain by asking your manager or your fellow salespeople for feedback. There’s a great chance they’ll notice things you don’t, and since they’re able to view your approach dispassionately, it makes sense to listen and accept their feedback. Of course, doing so requires you to put your ego aside, but if you truly want to improve, then it’s something you’ll have to learn to be comfortable with.
6. Go easy on yourself
When you’re in the thick of it, worrying about hitting quota and losing your job, it can feel wrong to go easy on yourself. Salespeople tend to catastrophize, convincing themselves that they’re stupid or incompetent, internalizing blame and turning failure into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of talking down to yourself, try going easy. Try not to take yourself so seriously. Pick up the phone and have a conversation, then do it again and again. Eventually, you’ll see that very little good comes from shaming yourself, and lots of good can come from taking a more relaxed approach. After all, if you can’t trust yourself, how do you expect prospects to trust you?